PIB: Saraki Warns Oil Firms against Bribing Lawmakers

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Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

Senate President Bukola Saraki has cautioned oil companies operating in Nigeria against offering any form of bribe to lawmakers when the consideration of the Fiscal and Host Communities Bills components of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) begins.

He said this when he received the leadership of the International Oil Companies and Oil Producers Trade Section (IOC/OPTS) in his office, where he also urged them to report any lawmaker who requests for any favour.

Saraki according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, disclosed that the process for passing the two components of the bill, would commence later this month.

“I want to assure you that it is in our own interest and the leadership has made it clear to all the members involved that this must be a transparent process. We are doing it in the interest of the country. Leadership is not going to tolerate any hanky-panky. No favours. No gifts. Nothing must be given to get this work done,” he said.

“And we want to mandate you that if you see any of these you should be able to bring it to the attention of the leadership. All we want to see is a Bill that is in the interest of Nigeria and we have read the riot act to all our members that nobody should approach anybody for any interest towards any benefit and I want to make this very clear,” Saraki added.

The Senate President said it would be a win-win for all stakeholders, when the president assents to the Governance component of the PIB, which is currently before him.

“A petroleum bill that will be a win for Nigeria on the revenue side, investment side and jobs creation; and it is also a win for those who are investing in Nigeria. Because we appreciate that it is a very competitive world out there and we must make Nigeria competitive,”

“The only way we can do that is through engagement. We cannot do it by just passing a bill and just putting it at your doorstep, because we are not the ones that will do the investment. So, it has to be a bill that we all believe is in the interest of all those who are involved,” Saraki said.

The leader of the delegation, Mr. Osagie Okunbo, said the members would make available their memorandum on the remaining components of the bill, during the public hearing.

“Our primary concern is that at the end of the day, we both lay the years of uncertainty to rest, but even more importantly, that a bill that is passed eventually is one that we can all be proud of and the one that we can say will encourage investments in all parts of the oil industry,” Okunbo said.